08 September, 2011

Nice Journal - Autumn 2011 - 3

Thursday, 8th September, 2011

Lisa was the first one up and about this morning and it wasn't until about half past nine that I joined her and put the coffee on. As well as the cooked ham, today we had a lovely block of goat's cheese as part of our breakfast. This went down very well. The morning was bright and sunny from the first and Lisa tried out her new telephoto lens for a while after we'd eaten. We got ourselves out a little earlier this morning and took the tram down to Place Garibaldi. We walked down rue Cassini in the hot sunshine and arrived at Foresta at 12:15.

Perry greeted us and quickly steered us out again because Nicole was busy in the apartment. Nicole has kept house for Perry and Jean for the best part of twenty years now, both at Cessole and Foresta. She is a real treasure and a very pleasant person; she always greets Lisa and I very warmly if we turn up at Foresta while she's there. Perry, though, doesn't like to receive company while Nicole is working so we have got used to being quickly but firmly ushered back out if we arrive while she's there.

We walked up S├ęgurane to the Place Garibaldi but there was no room for us at the "Square G" restaurant that Perry had hoped would be our lunch venue for the day. Consequently, we walked back down towards the Port to try our luck at "Le Local", an Italian restaurant in rue Rusca which Nicole had recommended. Perry did not seem sure it was a good choice but Lisa and I were game and so we were seated at an outdoor table and checked out the menu. Lisa chose a dish of gnocchi and aubergine as her main course while Perry and I both went for the lasagne with pesto. Before that, however, we agreed to share a platter of cold meat with Lisa as a starter.

There were seven types of Italian charcuterie on the platter including Salami di Napoli, Mortadella, Coppa, a Parma- style cured ham, a sweet sausage, a spicy salami and a cooked ham. A very varied selection but all very good indeed. Our main courses were no less appreciated: Lisa reported that her gnocchi were light and fluffy and that the tomatoes and aubergine in the sauce were delicious. The lasagne was rolled very thin, almost like filo pastry, and very soft without being at all watery. The pesto was pungent and, as did Lisa's dish, included a few whole fresh basil leaves. I felt the food was terrific and very authentic. For dessert, Lisa and I opted for the home-made tiramisu which was served in a small Kilner jar and was wonderfully light with delightfully soft and moist sponge. Perry said that he enjoyed his rum baba too. Coffee to finish was distinctly Italian rather than French. All in all it was a very enjoyable meal: not fine dining like yesterday but good, honest, satisfyingly tasty food that Lisa and I agreed we'd be keen to sample again.

As we had walked to Garibaldi and now almost all the way back to the Port, Perry requested that we take a bus back up to MAMAC: our cultural destination for the afternoon. The current exhibition was unusual in that, rather than focussing on an individual or a small group of artists, it was based around a theme and featured works by a large number of artists unified by the significance of colour in the pieces. Several of the pieces were drawn from the museum's permanent collection and so were familiar to us yet rendered unfamiliar in the altered context. It made for a stimulating and rewarding couple of hours viewing. Out on the terrace, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Assan Smati's sculpture "Dos Santos" was still in place,the two huge wooden pylon figures looking very different in the hot hazy sunshine than they had in the pouring rain back in March.

We walked Perry slowly back to Foresta. He was feeling quite spent. We agreed to meet again the day after tomorrow and that tomorrow would be a good day for Lisa and I to make our excursion to Monaco without him. We showed Perry some recent photos on our iPads, including a few that we'd taken today. Finally we left the poor man alone and, as yesterday, made our way round by the sea-front to the Cours Saleya for a couple of beers, this time at our frequent haunt: les Planchettes. Much heart-to-heart talking ensued without, for once, leading to discord. We strolled through the old town to Place Garibaldi and caught a tram home. No need for Monoprix tonight.

We grazed on a selection of olives, Coppa, carrot sticks with cheese dip, and salty snacks. We cleared most of this away and Lisa retreated to the bedroom with her Kindle while I looked in some old guide books for some information to help deal with the prospect of Monaco on the morrow. By midnight I had done with that and so caught up with my journalling to this point before I too headed for bed.

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